Over the last twelve months a series of meetings has been held at which Australian pro-Israel Christians have focused on the important ways in which we can express pro-actively our support of Israel, especially in these days when there is virulent international condemnation of a nation that is so tiny, yet huge in the heart and purposes of God.
As the United Nations continues to demonstrate its at times bizarre irrelevance and hostility in matters relating to Israel, 2017 is shaping to be a critical, historic and indeed prophetic year for Australia – and Aussies – to be seen as strong and dependable in standing shoulder to shoulder with Israel.
This year is significant for its many anniversaries for the Jewish world: 120 years since the first Zionist Congress; 100 years since the Charge of the Light Horse Brigade in Be’er-sheva; 100 years since the Balfour Declaration; 70 years since the UN partition vote; and 50 years since the miraculous Six Day War and the reunification of Jerusalem.
Those of us who are Christian supporters of Israel now have a unique opportunity to reaffirm our unwavering commitment to stand with Israel and the Jewish people, building on the first ever visit – yes, in 2017 – by a sitting Israeli Prime Minister to Australia, when Benjamin Netanyahu came to Sydney in February.
A smaller core group of leaders has met twice this year, and not surprisingly our focus has been on Jerusalem, the eternal and undivided capital of Israel. Sadly, Australia’s official position on the status of Jerusalem has been in keeping with that of the rest of the world, which continues to withhold recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. It is time to end the double standard where Israel is the only country that does not get to choose its own capital.
Should the Australian government initiate such a move for its own embassy… it would reinforce immeasurably the existing strong friendship between the two nations
The prophecies of Zechariah were written around 2500 years ago, predicting a future day when the world’s focus would be on Jerusalem, when “all nations of the earth are gathered against it” (Zechariah 12:3) – as we consistently see whenever the United Nations meets. The warning to the nations in verse 9 is equally clear. As we consider the geo-political and spiritual aspects of current ongoing Middle East hostilities, I have no doubt that the time-frame of this prophecy is upon us.
As I write, the battle is being joined over the Temple Mount in Jerusalem and the right of Jews even to pray at their holiest site. The recent UNESCO resolutions denying the Jewish heritage of Jerusalem and Hebron, the burial ground of Israel’s “fathers and mothers”, have found a deeply troubling echo in former Foreign Minister Bob Carr’s obsessive and incomprehensible slamming of Israel for, amongst other things, “Judaising” the “great Arab city” of Jerusalem.
I encourage you to pray Psalm 55:9 over this situation and any others that would speak and murmur against Israel from our cities, especially Canberra: “Destroy, O Lord, and divide their tongues, For I have seen violence and strife in the city.” And praise God for the motion from the Victorian Liberal State Council with a sheer absolute majority to strongly support the relocation of our Australian embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
I want now to focus on the recently raised petition to the Australian Senate requesting our Parliament to do just that – to relocate our embassy to Jerusalem, thereby demonstrating our 100 years of mateship with Israel. This is a bold and exciting initiative that we strongly believe is of the Lord. We are receiving growing endorsement for this endeavour from Jewish organisations in Australia and are delighted with their positive and affirming response.
The relocation of embassies to their capital city Jerusalem is a paramount matter for the government of Israel – an issue all of Israel, and Jews everywhere, long to see addressed. Should the Australian government initiate such a move for its own embassy rather than in response to an Israeli request, it would reinforce immeasurably the existing strong friendship between the two nations and be an unmistakable demonstration of Australia’s standing before God as a “sheep nation” (Matthew 25:31-46).
Those of us who will be in Beer-sheva on the very significant date of 31 October 2017 will also seek signatures from the thousands of Australians who will be gathering there for the commemorative events associated with the 100th anniversary of the Light Horse charge. The latest date for the petitions to be received has now been extended to 18 November.
The petition responses will be carefully reviewed and collated before being taken to Canberra for presentation in Parliament around the beginning of December. How very timely that would be if on 1 December President Donald Trump chose not to sign the waiver delaying for another six months the relocation of the US embassy to Jerusalem. Something to pray into, for sure!
As Christian supporters of Israel, may we never forget what God has said in 1 Samuel 2:30 – “Those who honor Me I will honor, and those who despise Me shall be lightly esteemed.” May we all be among those whom God will indeed honour and bless as we stand with and bless Israel, and in so doing honour our God who declared in Genesis 12:3 that He will bless those who bless Abraham and his offspring through Isaac, the Jewish people.